Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the bold spirit and vast achievements of Palestinian women and female refugees. Women don’t always have adequate support in their societies, but when they are given opportunities, they thrive and improve the lives of those around them.

Meet Fadwa, one Palestinian woman who’s making a big difference in her small West Bank town of Al Tireh. She’s one of 600 women to complete ANERA’s teacher training course. As a preschool teacher, she has an influence on children during the years that are most important to development. But beyond the impact she has on children, she’s a confident role model for other women in her society who have so much to give.

Watch: “The Most Important Thing I Can Offer is Self-Confidence”

Between February and December 2016, ANERA’s skills training program reached more than 6,500 out-of-school teens in Lebanon. These short skills training courses for refugee youth help equip students with skills in a variety of marketable fields, such as electric wiring, chocolate molding, floor tiling, sewing, beekeeping and more.

The program also offers youth training and apprenticeship opportunities that boost their potential as they enter the local job market. One form of these apprenticeships is community service, which allows youth to hone their skills while giving back to their community.

Almost 30% of youth completing vocational courses have also completed an apprenticeship. More than 1,200 did so through targeted community service projects.

Graphic Design Students Paint a Mural in Nahr El Bared

Women in the refugee youth project paint a mural in Nahr El Bared.

Young women in the graphic design course paint a mural in Nahr El Bared Palestinian camp.

Six students from the graphic design course helped paint murals in Nahr El Bared camp. The initiative is part of ANERA’s waste management program in Nahr El Bared and aims to raise awareness about cleaner environmental and sustainable practices.

Reem Rinawi is one of the design students in the refugee youth project who helped plan and conceptualize the mural, applying much of what she had learned in the design course.

“Before the mural design process, I practiced at home, where I made some initial sketches,” Reem said. “This is one of the most interesting experiences in my life. It was very rewarding to see the tangible impact that can result from applying the concepts we learned in the classroom,” she added.

Sewing Students Make Winter Clothing for Syrian Refugees

Teens in the sewing workshop make warm pajamas for the youngest Syrian refugees living in tent camps.

Teens in the sewing workshop make warm pajamas for the youngest Syrian refugees living in tent camps.

Ten participants from a sewing course in Bhannine, Akkar made 300 warm flannel pajamas for refugee children. They applied their skills in selecting fabric, making patterns, and the sewing waistbands. The pajamas were distributed in eight informal tented settlements in northern Lebanon to Syrian refugee families.

“We sewed two different patterns of pajamas, one for girls, and another for boys. They come in three different sizes to fit children ages 3-10,” said Mahassen Samman, the trainer of the sewing course.

Early Childhood Education Trainees Lead Interactive Activities for Children

Students in the refugee youth project learn to be preschool teachers.

Students from the early childhood development course lead an interactive activity with preschoolers in Sidon.

Twenty participants from the early childhood development course in Sidon visited a local nursery and led a morning of interactive activities with the children.

“It was a lot of fun! We played, sang, and did several other activities with the children,” said Wafaa Abo Taleb, a participant in the course. “I learned that the reality of working with kids can be more challenging than what you read in books. But it is also far more rewarding.”

Free Haircuts in Refugee Tent Settlements

Students in the refugee youth project give haircuts to Syrian refugee kids.

Hairdressing students practice their skills by giving free haircuts to Syrian refugees living in tent camps.

Ayham Dakar, 16, along with six other graduates from the men’s hairdressing course visited an informal tented settlement for Syrian refugees in Jib Jannine, West Bekaa. It was an open day of complimentary haircuts for men and children.

Ayham is a Syrian from Damascus, who fled with his family six years ago to Lebanon. “I am here to help people. I will offer them haircuts and will get experience as well,” Ayham said.

Khalil Assaf, 17, a Syrian from Homs, is now working to support his family as a car mechanic. “I joined the hairdressing course as I want to pursue it as a profession. It’s useful, clean, and always needed,” he said. “The event today was very interesting, and made me more determined to pursue my dream of being a professional barber.”

Similarly, four young women from a cosmetology course in Beddawi went along with their instructor, Intissar Ghanayem, to a center for the elderly in Nahr El Bared Camp. For a couple of hours, the elderly women received free haircuts and makeup application.

“Many of the women in the center have difficulty moving around, so they don’t go out very much. This kind of activity is really appreciated here,” said Hanan El Sayyed, the secretary of the center.

Amal Atieh, 18, one of the graduates who had dropped out of school in the ninth grade, is now planning to do an internship with a local hairdresser in Beddawi to further pursue it as a career. “I joined today’s activity because I like to put smiles on people’s faces, and that’s exactly what happened,” she said.

Young Photographer in Ein El Hilweh Covers Local Event

A photograph by 19-year-old Baraa from her coverage of the International Children's Day Celebration in Ein El Hilweh camp.

A photograph by 19-year-old Baraa from her coverage of the International Children’s Day Celebration in Ein El Hilweh camp.

Baraa Al Mahmoud is a 19-year-old photographer covering International Children’s Day at Ein El Hilweh camp. She captured this photo of young girls celebrating. Not only did her photography help local organizers, but she applied the skills she learned in the Photoshop and photography course she recently finished.

In addition, some of Baraa’s friends from a chocolate molding course made some bite-sized chocolate treats for the day’s festivities.

The initiative was made possible with the partnership of UNICEF and funding from UK Aid, German Cooperation and the United States Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

ANERA offers basic literacy, math and vocational courses to refugee youth and other impoverished communities.

Below, we highlight three stories about Syrian refugees who benefited from non-formal education in Lebanon. The program is implemented in partnership with UNICEF and made possible through funding from German CooperationUK Aid, and the United States Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

Rania: Young Mother in Bhannine

Rania dropped out of school more than a decade ago, when she was in the sixth grade in Syria. Today, she’s a refugee in Bhannine, Lebanon. When she heard of ANERA’s literacy and math courses, her only concern was finding a safe space to leave her five-year-old daughter Amal.

Now, Rania and a group of young mothers are enjoying ANERA’s courses while their children are in daycare at the center.

“I heard about the classes from my neighbors and was so eager to join,” said Rania. “These classes gave me some hope that there’s something to look forward to, and it’s never too late to go back to school.”

Rania enrolls in ANERA's courses in non formal education in Lebanon while her daughter goes to day care.

Rania is able to attend ANERA’s courses because she can put her daughter in daycare at the school.

Abdo: Football Coach for Refugee Youth

Abdo fled from his hometown of Zabadani, Syria to Majdal Anjar in Bekaa, Lebanon. Initially a social sciences teacher, he couldn’t find any employment opportunities to support his younger sister and sick mom.

Abdo heard of ANERA’s skills training courses in Bekaa, particularly the courses for sports trainers. As a former trainer for the Shabab Al Zabadani football team in Syria, he applied to be one of the trainees.

Now, Abdo is one of the trainers who oversees ANERA’s sports learning courses in football in Bekaa. “I manage two training sessions per week. I enjoy this greatly on one hand and, on the other, the income I receive helps me provide for my family.”

Abdo learned coaching as part of ANERA's non-formal education in Lebanon program.

Abdo attends a football training session for his students.

Khaled: Computer Technician

Khaled, 18, dropped out of school in seventh grade. He regrets it now, and that’s why he started looking for alternative education options.

When Khaled heard about ANERA’s non-formal education courses in Lebanon, he was quick to enroll in courses on literacy, math and computer skills. Now Khaled works at a computer shop close to his home in Tripoli and makes around $50/week.

“After I dropped out of school I worked in many different jobs, but working in computer maintenance always interested me,” said Khaled. “Though I’ve started with some minor chores and clerical support, I believe this is an opportunity to change my future.”

Khaled stands in front of the computer shop where he works.

Khaled stands in front of the computer shop where he works.

In Gaza’s impoverished communities, schools rarely come equipped with necessities like libraries and science labs. So with fewer resources available, some teachers are getting creative in the classroom.

Take, for example, the children of Gaza’s YMCA preschool. They have turned their kitchen into a science lab. Through fun activities, they are learning concepts like weight, volume, color, relationships between objects, and the transformation of substances.

“Today we’re making fruit salad,” said teacher Ghada Hashwa. “Children are taking part in making healthy meals as part of an active learning initiative.”

Recently Ghada joined ANERA’s teacher training workshop, funded by Dubai Cares. She was one of 48 other teachers from nine preschools enrolled in the active learning program. The new method of teaching breaks the rigid routine of conventional learning.

Gaza preschools are now using active learning methods with the new renovations they received from ANERA.

A boy at the Gaza YMCA makes fruit salad to learn scientific concepts in a fun way.

Today’s activity at the YMCA uses the fun and delicious activity of making fruit salad. The first part of the session required students to identify different “mystery” fruits by reaching into a bag. Then they named the fruits and learned how to change their form—by making juice, or chopping them up into slices. Teacher Ghada ensures the safety of tools used for experimenting, as well as food cleanliness.

One student, Sarah, squeezed an orange through a juicer and poured it onto her healthy finished product, a fruit salad. “It’s like a rainbow,” she said giddily, jumping up and down.

Active Learning is an Essential Part of Early Childhood Education


Children learn about size, shape, weight and color in a fun and engaging course of active learning.

Through active learning projects, children learn life skills through practice, experimentation, trial and error. “Traditional education does not allow any of this,” said Ghada. “Children are passive learners and receivers in the conventional classroom.” During an activity, Ghada can observe the children’s interaction and how they handle different challenges. “The kids follow the recipe, and if they face any problems, they need to figure out how to resolve it on their own.”

When children participate in preparing food, they develop skills like language, science, math and art. Learning is enriched with the vibrant colors of fruit, and the healthy content of their meals.
“In the kitchen, the students use all of their senses to learn,” said another teacher, Najla El Jadba. “They won’t forget what they did because it will be carved into their minds.”

Gaza Preschools Renovation Allow for Active Learning

Children play at the renovated playground in Gaza preschools.

Renovations to the playground include soft new turf, colorful new equipment and shade from the sun.

Both children and teachers are motivated to learn in a rich, safe and beautiful environment. Unfortunately, they did not always have access to high quality facilities. Before ANERA rehabilitated the preschool, it was a grey and gloomy space. Now kids are inspired to learn and explore in their classrooms and playground, painted in vibrant colors.

The renovation took place as part of ANERA’s ongoing early childhood development program in Palestine. ANERA painted all the rooms in bright colors and made upgrades to the bathrooms. Cracks in the walls were filled in and a new child-size water fountain was installed. The outdoor play areas got new green turf and a sunroof to protect children from the scorching sun. New playground equipment was also provided.

The new playground is an oasis for Gaza preschoolers.

The new playground is an oasis for Gaza preschoolers.

“The old playground was unsafe, with old, decaying tiles for floors,” said the preschool director Mona Tarazi. “The unshaded play area was a struggle during winter and summer. The toilets leaked sewage.” Mona smiles describing the changes. “We need to offer children in Gaza a healthy beginning from a young age. How lovely to set them up for a brighter, healthy future.”

With funding from Dubai Cares, ANERA was able to transform nine preschools throughout Gaza. In addition, the project involved training 48 teachers on basic child rights and protection and distributing reading bags and other educational resources to optimize teacher competency. Full-scale school renovations included equipping the facilities with new furniture to create child friendly spaces that are conducive to learning.

Syrian refugee education relies on humanitarian donations.

Donated Books Boost Syrian Refugee Education

January 18th, 2017 by ANERA

In Lebanon, more than half of all school-aged Syrian refugees are not registered in the formal education system. That’s about 250,000 out-of-school youths.

Several factors have contributed to this education crisis. The Lebanese school curriculum is different from that in Syria, and classes are usually taught in English or French. Syrian refugee education also lags because many families struggle to afford tuition. They often live in informal tented settlements, and the instability of their home lives compounds the problem.

In response, several schools and community organizations offer non-formal educational courses for Syrian children. One of those is the Jusoor School for Syrian refugees. Three Jusoor branches operate in Lebanon— two in the Bekaa Valley and one in Beirut. The biggest, located in Jib Jannine, West Bekaa, was established in April 2014.

Donated books and training materials support Syrian refugee education.

The International Book Bank (IBB) donated 5,000 education items, including teacher training materials.

Picture Books Bring Learning to Life

Najwa is a five-year-old kindergartener at Jusoor. She is now learning about the four seasons with the help of a richly illustrated book. “I love the spring season, because that’s when flowers blossom,” she said.

The book is one of the 5,000 educational items donated by the International Book Bank (IBB). Jusoor received the shipment through ANERA, along with teacher training materials. These books and supplies will serve more than 1,000 Syrian refugee children attending the school, including older students in ANERA’s basic literacy and math courses.

The shipment included various textbooks, fictional stories and resources. For science class, children learned about the four seasons with picture cards. In language tutoring sessions, teachers now use interesting and high-quality books to aid in instruction.

Syrian refugee education in Lebanon is boosted by book donations.

Several factors have contributed to the crisis in Syrian refugee education.

At-Risk Syrian Refugee Youth Need Fun Learning Activities

“Given the poverty these students live in, they need these types of fun learning activities.”

“Most students here live in unstable conditions,” said Izdihar Omar, the administrator of the Jusoor School Jib Jannine. “Many are residents of nearby tented settlements, and are at risk of dropping out to work and support their families, mainly by doing agricultural work,” she added.

Diverse, informative and aesthetically pleasing educational tools are a necessity for keeping children in the classroom. “It’s these resources that allow for interactive activities. Given the poverty these students live in, they need these types of fun learning activities,” Izdihar said.

The IBB shipment was distributed to various partner centers serving underprivileged students in tented settlements, Palestinian refugee camps and poor rural communities in Lebanon.

Unstable living conditions in tent settlements prevent education among Syrian refugee children.

“Most students here live in unstable conditions. Many are residents of nearby tented settlements, and are at risk of dropping out,” said Izdihar Omar.